English heritage

The latest instalment in a small but significant trend slotted into place recently when Allen & Overy (A&O) private equity specialist Derek Baird upped sticks for the London office of elite US firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

At the start of this year fellow US firm Davis Polk & Wardwell made waves when it launched an English law practice in the City with the hire of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer capital markets partner Simon Witty. This was seen as a radical move for Davis Polk, which had previously relied on best-friends relationships with UK firms, notably Slaughter and May.

As one contributor on www.thelawyer.com says: “It’s got harder and harder for [Davis Polk] to justify the major lacuna of having diddly in London.”

Simpson already had English law capability in the UK, with notable recent laterals including Clifford Chance corporate star Adam Signy in May 2009 and fellow Clifford Chance partner Jason Glover – another private equity specialist.

The game-plan of methodically building up an English law capability in the City is expected to be mirrored at Davis Polk.

At Simpson, Baird joins the London corporate practice. At A&O he had been global co-head of the private equity group and prior to that he was a partner at Hogan Lovells legacy firm Lovells until 2006.

Simpson’s London managing partner Gregory Conway says Baird’s experience will complement that of the team in London.